Pesto is one of those Italian ingredients that has become part of the international pantry, along with balsamic vinegar, pasta, and a few others. Its origins lie deep in the heart of maritime Genova, and it was used as a condiment for one or two shapes of handmade pasta; either the curly little trofie pasta or the long flat ribbons called trenette. In either case, the traditional way of cooking and serving this dish is to cook one-third cubed boiled potatoes, one-third green beans, and one-third pasta, all dressed generously with pesto. Just as with so many of these recipes, there is no definitive formula. Each household, restaurant, and Mama will insist that theirs is the ultimate and only recipe. The recipe given here is my own version and I hope you will feel free to increase or decrease the quantities as you work, tasting and adjusting as you feel. This is necessary, because in my experience no two basil plants are ever quite the same, and it is basil which is the fundamental ingredient in pesto.
© 2008 Valentina Harris. All rights reserved.